The month of December is Mexico is filled with Christmas and holiday parties and social events.
The population of Mexico is 95%+ Christian and openly celebrates Christmas in private industry and government displays. Be aware that there are other religious groups in Mexico that do not celebrate Christmas in order to avoid offending suppliers or clients.
These Christmas and holiday reunions are usually mid-day dinners or late suppers. There will be get-togethers for friends, business acquaintances, associations and any committees or other groups that you might belong to.
There is also the company Christmas party.
Failure to attend the holiday events are noticed and considered rude. It’s better to arrive and steal away early than to avoid the reunions all together. Remember Mexico is a very socially oriented culture, failure to attend and participate in the social events will not help you, it might work against you.
Corporate and business gift giving is very important, and in many cases expected at Christmas time. The low end gifts range from the traditional; calendars and pens, agendas, calculators or other promotional type gifts to the higher end: fine liquors (Tequila, Scotch whiskey, Cognac, Red wine), fine food baskets, electronic equipment (Palms, IPods, etc.), gift certificates to restaurants, etc.
Unlike the USA, it is common in Mexico to give holiday gifts to the decision-makers in the purchasing department unless the companies have a policy against it.
Cut flowers or live plants are not considered an appropriate business gift.
Holiday gifts are given to important (and not so important) clients or to key people in the clients organization with whom you have a personal/business relationship (for example the secretary who answers all your calls or the logistics person who solves problems all year long).
Some transnational companies have tried to limit and reduce the amount and quality of business Christmas gifts in the past few years. It is not looked upon kindly by customers who always reflect upon the amount of money they have spent with the supplier, and believe the Christmas gift is a “thank you” and recognition of their support and loyalty throughout the year.
Work begins to slow down in Mexico at the beginning of December, and after December 12 (The Day of Guadalupe) efficiency grinds to a halt. It’s impossible to get major decisions, and many times difficult to locate business owners and managers due to events and social engagements.
Most Mexican businesses (not in tourist areas) are closed during the week between Christmas (Dec. 25) and the New Year (Jan 1). The Mexican government prohibits highway transport of certain goods and tractor trailers during this peak family vacation period.